It won’t be a day that Penticton resident Henry Kriwokon will forget anytime soon.
Kriwokon celebrated his 100 birthday at Penticton’s Polish Bistro on Sunday, Jan. 26 with over 30 family members and friends.
Before Kriwokon’s birthday began, onlookers saluted and cheered as he was greeted by a police officer to help walk him into the restaurant. A bagpiper was also on scene to play music and celebrate the joyous moment.
Leading up to Kriwokon’s centennial, his life began when he was born on Jan. 26, 1920 in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. After years of working hard on his family farm, Kriwokon’s life changed dramatically when he joined the army in 1936 in Vancouver.
He said there was only one reason why he took a job with the forces.
“There was no reason at all. I was just looking for a job and so I joined and that was it,” said Kriwokon.
“Being there, I got three meals a day and a uniform.”
After being stationed in Vancouver, Kriwokon attended trade school in Ontario before being transferred to Bordon, England to serve in World War Two as a mechanic.
My relative Henry Kriwoken is celebrating his 100th birthday today in Penticton! Happy birthday Henri! pic.twitter.com/Zp4QWUEKIn
— Connor Trembley (@ConnorTrembley) January 27, 2020
He said his time in the war was full of emotion.
“There wasn’t a day that went by that I wasn’t scared. When the army planes are flying above you with over 50 propellers, you hear them dropping bombs and you have no idea where they’re going to hit,” explained Kriwokon.
“One day in the paper, I read that there was a direct hit (from a bomb) and 300 people were killed.”
Henry put his mechanic skills to use after the war when he worked at an aircraft factory in Vancouver.
After spending forty years living on the West Coast, Kriwokon said he decided to move to Penticton for the climate and geography.
“I got tired of the wet and windy weather and that’s why I’m here. I also love the orchards, the backroads and just the lay of the land.”
When asked about what it takes to live a long and prosperous life, Kriwokon said there’s not much to it.
“I think it’s from not drinking too much whisky,” said Kriwokon. “It’s just the way it is. I give credit to my mom and dad and for their good genes.”